New Mac mini folds in Apple TV features (photos)

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Apple's new unibody Mac mini takes design cues from Apple TV while introducing innovative new industrial design concepts of its own.



The new Mac mini ships in a box that's about the same size around as the previous model, but much thinner. In fact, the new box is smaller than the box a lot of software media used to ship in.



Despite being a little more than an inch wider and deeper, Apple fits the new Mac mini into the same profile as the previous box by using a snug fit that packs the computer and its single AC power cable, documents, and an HDMI to DVI adapter with little room for dead air.



As detailed in Friday's first look new Mac mini is the same size around as Apple TV and Time Capsule, and like both of those earlier products, packs its power supply inside the case for a brick-free design.









Aimed at easy to use, appliance-like convenience



Also like Apple TV, the new mini trades away a custom mini-DVI port for HDMI, which supplies the same video output with additional support for audio, making the new Mac mini as living room-savvy as Apple TV (although it's considerably more expensive for such an application).



The new design also gives up one of the USB ports the former Mac mini offered, but provides a convenient SD Card slot in its place.









The new aluminum shell of the Mac mini creates a strong, precision design similar to the company's MacBook Pro lineup. It leaves previous Mac mini models feeling and looking plastic and cheap.



Easy to open



Functionally, the new design makes parts easier to access. Rather than having to peel way the rubber backing to access screws (like Apple TV) or use a putty knife to pop off the top case (like earlier minis), the new design uses a twist off plastic lid to expose access to RAM. Full access requires tools, but is still much easier to disassemble than previous minis.





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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 53
    gmcalpingmcalpin Posts: 266member
    God, the new Mac mini is such a gorgeous piece of engineering. It's a shame Apple's steep profit margins have the whole thing priced nearly $200 higher than it really ought to be.
  • Reply 2 of 53
    dunksdunks Posts: 1,220member
    I think the new mini looks nice. The price increase this time is probably strategic. That gives them two opportunities to drop the price by $50 instead of adding new features at the next upgrade cycle. Apple needs that space in case CPU/hard disk bumps are not cost effective for them around the time of the next upgrade cycle.
  • Reply 3 of 53
    alfiejralfiejr Posts: 1,524member
    they're nice, yes. but you still have a full OSX Mac to maintain (and tweak). so the Mini remains a hobbyist's media center, not a consumer product.



    just about everyone has figured out by now that what consumers really need is instead AppleTV running the iOS, plus putting iTunes in the cloud. but being stubborn, Jobs is just not going to unveil this until the annual September iPod refresh.
  • Reply 4 of 53
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    They could have made this tiny machine with out a milled shel for the case. Or simply made the top case milled with the bottom being a separate piece. That fact that they went this route convinces that they are planning to use this basic footprint design for other products. it's just seems too cost prohibitive not to.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gmcalpin View Post


    God, the new Mac mini is such a gorgeous piece of engineering. It's a shame Apple's steep profit margins have the whole thing priced nearly $200 higher than it really ought to be.



    Do you think that Apple has increased its net profit by $100 over the last model and $200 since the first model or that the "gorgeous [...] engineering" may be somewhat responsible for the price increase?
  • Reply 5 of 53
    elliots11elliots11 Posts: 270member
    I like this new Mini, probably won't buy one. I think it needs some more specialized software before you can call it an Apple TV replacement unless they want to count Boxee, but Apple really ought to do their own thing, and I hope they do soon - then a lot more people will be interested, myself included.



    What I'd really like to see is HDMI on Mac laptops. All my friends will show videos they find on the internet to each other on the TV in the living room on their Windows Laptops with HDMI. That's BS, Macs should have that, too. Now that they've started releasing computers with HDMI I hope they spread the love.



    Also, I know Apple doesn't want to compete on features since OS X is their main feature (and it's a big one), but HDMI, Blu ray and flash on the iPhone are useful and in demand. I hope they begin to move in this direction. My next laptop or computer wishlist is: Blu ray, HDMI, Open CL video card, Quad Core, and USB3 or light peak.
  • Reply 6 of 53
    ameldrum1ameldrum1 Posts: 249member
    "but provides a convenient SD Card slot in its place"



    i'm not sure what is "convenient" about the location of this SD slot for a product that is designed to sit in a TV unit.
  • Reply 7 of 53
    raseriraseri Posts: 1member
    SD reader in the back? Seriously Apple?
  • Reply 8 of 53
    19841984 Posts: 955member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gmcalpin View Post


    God, the new Mac mini is such a gorgeous piece of engineering. It's a shame Apple's steep profit margins have the whole thing priced nearly $200 higher than it really ought to be.



    I'd buy it at that price if it had a Blu-ray drive. Unfortunately I doubt Apple will ever support Blu-ray. They don't even consider the addition of the HDMI port relevant to home theater use. They said they added it solely to increase the number of display options.
  • Reply 9 of 53
    elrothelroth Posts: 1,201member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ameldrum1 View Post


    "but provides a convenient SD Card slot in its place"



    i'm not sure what is "convenient" about the location of this SD slot for a product that is designed to sit in a TV unit.



    It's designed to be a computer. One of its peripheral uses is in a TV unit.
  • Reply 10 of 53
    daharderdaharder Posts: 1,580member
    Obviously a very slow news day...
  • Reply 11 of 53
    elrothelroth Posts: 1,201member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Alfiejr View Post


    they're nice, yes. but you still have a full OSX Mac to maintain (and tweak). so the Mini remains a hobbyist's media center, not a consumer product.



    just about everyone has figured out by now that what consumers really need is instead AppleTV running the iOS, plus putting iTunes in the cloud. but being stubborn, Jobs is just not going to unveil this until the annual September iPod refresh.



    Who is this everyone you speak of? Apple will sell many many Minis - maybe not millions a year, but many. Many more than the AppleTVs that you suggest. Why do I think that? Because the Mini is a computer that can also be used connected to a TV. There will be a lot of Minis bought as computers. TV boxes are still niche products.
  • Reply 12 of 53
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by 1984 View Post


    I'd buy it at that price if it had a Blu-ray drive. Unfortunately I doubt Apple will ever support Blu-ray. They don't even consider the addition of the HDMI port relevant to home theater use. They said they added it solely to increase the number of display options.



    The HP EliteBook offers an ulta-slim Blu-ray player for $400 extra and the Sony Vaio Z offers it for $500 extra. Both of them are tray-loading drives.



    So, how could Apple offer the entire Mac mini with a drive that costs even more than the upgrade option they offer for a price that is about 60-70% of the entire price of the item?
  • Reply 13 of 53
    jerseymacjerseymac Posts: 408member
    The aluminum Unibody design is very nice, but do you really need this kind of strength in a desktop machine?
  • Reply 14 of 53
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    The HP EliteBook offers an ulta-slim Blu-ray player for $400 extra and the Sony Vaio Z offers it for $500 extra. Both of them are tray-loading drives.



    So, how could Apple offer the entire Mac mini with a drive that costs even more than the upgrade option they offer for a price that is about 60-70% of the entire price of the item?



    You're making way too much sense for some of the whiners.
  • Reply 15 of 53
    steviestevie Posts: 956member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by elliots11 View Post


    What I'd really like to see is HDMI on Mac laptops. All my friends will show videos they find on the internet to each other on the TV in the living room on their Windows Laptops with HDMI. That's BS, Macs should have that, too.





    Can't you just carry around a selection of adapters? I thought that you could get an adapter for Apple's type of digital audio/video output(s) which goes to HDMI?
  • Reply 16 of 53
    steviestevie Posts: 956member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Jerseymac View Post


    The aluminum Unibody design is very nice, but do you really need this kind of strength in a desktop machine?



    Likely it also acts as a heat sink. If the new design has a flaw, my guess is that it will be overheating.
  • Reply 17 of 53
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,619member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Jerseymac View Post


    The aluminum Unibody design is very nice, but do you really need this kind of strength in a desktop machine?



    My guess is that they had two goals: attractive design and heat dissipation. The aluminum case should do a pretty good job of moving heat around while looking so very nice.
  • Reply 18 of 53
    Quote:

    I thought that you could get an adapter for Apple's type of digital audio/video output(s) which goes to HDMI?



    http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...seq=1&format=2
  • Reply 19 of 53
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by David | Dah?veed View Post


    http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...seq=1&format=2



    Welcome to the forum.



    That's an expensive solution if you have a 2010 Mac with audio support over mini-DisplayPort. The best solution so far seems to be Moshi mDP-to-HDMI adapter for $35 on Apple's sites. Still pricey and expecting Monoprice to offer the proper cables and adapters any day now for a lot less.
  • Reply 20 of 53
    First of all, the mini is incredibly more adaptable and useful than the Apple TV and the Time Capsule. To anyone who posted saying it's not useful or not what people need....shock.



    For one, I have a Time Capsule. Use...very limited. Store some files, share some internet, use Time Machine.



    I moved into an apartment that had a 42" tv on the wall....was I going to get an Apple TV just to try to get content onto the TV? no. What did I settle on? A PS3. Still have enough troubles with that.



    What do I wish I had?? A Mac Mini as a home server, using Airport to deal out wireless internet, using the HDMI to play any movies and content on the TV, taking advantage of having a full Mac OS X install to run various server apps like SVN for my programming, etc.



    Mac Mini is a pretty darn cool piece of hardware so don't diss it.



    And no, they got this baby out too late, I'm not going to get one now.
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